I recommend waiting until after you’ve read the book to read deleted scenes. It will help you better understand characters and the dynamics of the story in the deleted scene. Stop reading here if you haven’t read Mikhail yet. And grab it here.
This was in the deleted draft and didn’t make it into the final version at all. As such, it is also unedited and all mistakes are mine.
The sound of Holden crying jarred Mik out of a deep sleep. It’d been a month since they had become parents, and he couldn’t be happier. Rowan was an amazing dad, and Mik fell in love with his mate even more every day.
He pulled back the covers and got out of bed. He could still hear the softness of Ro’s snoring, and didn’t want to wake him up. Plus, he enjoyed nothing more than bonding with their little guy. He pushed his feet into his slippers and padded his way out of the bedroom.
“Daddy’s coming!” Mik said, shuffling his way into the room which Rowan had turned into a beautiful nursery for Holden. When he walked over to the crib, he looked down into eyes identical to Rowan’s.
He lifted Holden into his arms, and almost immediately, the wailing died down into a soft whine, after which he took a seat in the rocker. “Daddy’s got you,” Mik cooed at his little one. “Are you hungry?” He patted Holden’s nappy. “Wet, or maybe both?”
Goddess he loved his little one, he never thought he could love anyone as much or even more than his mate but, his heart race and slowed down at the same time around his son. Mik loved Rowan with every breath in his body, but with Holden, it was different. Looking at his son and seeing both himself and his mate in him did something to Mikhail that he couldn’t put into words.
He thought back to Christmas and how miserable he’d been, especially after finding out Rowan was gone. “And you know what… you are the best gift we could have been given. Your papa and I love you so much.”
Mikhail got to his feet and changed his son before warming up one of the bottles that Rowan had made up and left in the fridge, then he sat back down and rocked back and forth while he got Holden eating.
Before he was three-quarters done with his bottle, Holden’s eyes drifted shut. Mik couldn’t help it, he leaned down and kissed his forehead, waking the little one up. When his son was finally done with the bottle, he moved Holden so he could rub his back.
Mikhail cradled Holden back in his arms as he slept, but the motion of the chair had his own eyes closing too. And that was how he awakened, the sunlight pouring into the nursery. They were getting to that time of year that it didn’t stay dark past 6 a.m.
His neck muscles protested at the position he’d fallen asleep in and he opened his eyes. Holden was still sound asleep, so Mik slowly stood, careful not to jostle his son, his steps slow as he walked over to the crib where he laid his sleeping pup on the mattress.
Hearing the shower running when he went back to their bedroom, Mikhail darted over to the dresser in the walk-in closet with a grin on his face. It was time. He opened the top drawer and reached to the back, pulling out the box he’d hidden there. It contained the custom wedding band he’d ordered for Rowan from Cartier. He’d been waiting for the perfect moment to present it to him.
The water stopped running, and he nearly dropped the ring. Mik shoved it, box and all, into the pocket of his sweats before closing the drawer and walking into the room, just as Ro walked out of the bathroom with a towel wrapped around his waist.
Mik’s eyes roamed over his mate’s chest and down to the stomach that was still a little full from having their son. Goddess, he was stunning.
“I missed you in bed, babe.” Rowan smiled at him.
“You should have woken me,” Mikhail said.
Rowan shook his head. “I saw you and Holden, and I didn’t have the heart to wake you. Although I did take a picture. It’s my new screensaver and lock screen.” Ro’s cheeks pinked at the admission.
Mik laughed. “You took a picture?”
Ro nodded and walked over to the bedside table on his side and grabbed his phone. Mik joined him there, his eyes going to the lock screen on Ro’s phone.
“Seriously, how precious is it?” Rowan looked up at him. “You guys are so cute, drool and all.”
Mik pinched Rowan’s side lightly. “I don’t drool.” Mik pouted.
Rowan elbowed him, and Mik bent over faking pain, causing Rowan to snort at his antics.
“So, what did you and our son talk about while you were in there?” Ro leaned into his body, and his arms went around his mate’s waist.
“We were talking about his daddy and how lucky I am.” Mik’s eyes held Rowan’s. He loved the way his mate lit up at his words.
“Is that so? Well did Holden tell you we had our own conversation, and I told him his papa is the best thing that ever happened to me?”
Mik’s heart did somersaults in his chest at Rowan’s words, and Mik’s voice was choked as he said, “He must have forgotten to mention.” He moved closer to Ro, his eyes trailing down his mate’s gorgeous body. “You are, you know.” His hand trailed down Rowan’s chest, to the belly that was almost back to its pre-baby size since his mate hadn’t put on that much weight. “You’re the best thing, the greatest gift I have ever received—you and Holden.”
Rowan’s eyes lit up. “Are you sure? Because Christmas might have passed, but since I didn’t get you anything…” His voice trailed off.
“Trust me, I have got everything I could ever want for Christmas, my birthday, and the new decade.”
Rowan’s arms went around his mate’s waist, and his smile almost blinded Mik. “Surely there’s something else you would want.”
Mik’s whole body reacted to the look in his mate’s eyes, and his cock hardened as Ro’s arousal hit his nose.
“Four weeks to go.” Rowan held his gaze as he lowered his hand into Mik’s sweats and palmed his hard cock. “Or I could take care of your litt—”
Mik cleared his throat and raised a brow at his mate.
Rowan’s eyes danced. “Pardon me. Your huuuuge problem.”
“That’s more like it.” Mikhail pinched Rowan’s ass, and chuckled as his mate yelped.
Rowan moved his hand inside Mik’s sweats to the tip of his cock and teased the sensitive head with his fingers.
Mik couldn’t help the groan that escaped as his mate used his precum to lubricate his shaft and began to jack him off.
Rowan stepped back and lowered himself to his knees, then pulled down his mate’s sweatpants, freeing the hard, leaking cock. Mik let out another groan when Rowan’s hand went around him again and he used his tongue to clean up Mik’s leaking precum.
Mik threw his head back and moaned at the feeling of his mate’s talented tongue around his cock. Rowan took his mate’s balls in his hand and gently massaged them, even as he took the man deeper into his mouth.
“Oh, oh my,” Mikhail’s hand threaded through Rowan’s still wet hair. Right then, their son let out a cry. They both froze and held their breath, waiting for Holden to either go back to sleep, or whether full-blown crying would come next.
Mik prayed to the goddess that it was the latter. All they needed was five minutes, but Holden’s cry didn’t let up. Instead, he increase in volume. Mikhail let out a groan. “Way to cockblock, son.”
Rowan snorted as he slipped off his mate’s cock, and Mik’s arms went to Rowan’s armpits helping him up.
He took in his mate’s naked body, and then his cock that was still wet with saliva and shook his head, letting out a longsuffering sigh, “I’ll get him. You get dressed.”
Rowan went on tiptoes and placed a kiss on his mate’s lips. “Let’s go together, but I promise, first chance I get, I’ll finish what we started.”
“I’ll hold you to it,” Mik replied, and snuck in another kiss.
Their son’s volume only increased, so Ro grabbed a dressing gown and they both hurried out of the bedroom to Holden’s room.
Ro reached in and scooped up their son. Holden stopped crying the moment he was in Rowan’s arms, and Mik’s heart melted as he watched the two of them. Okay, so this was worth having blue balls over, Ro with Holden always made Mik feel like butterflies had taken up residence in his heart.
Ro kissed the top of Holden’s head and then turned to Mik. They shared a smile over their son’s head. Yeah, this was definitely worth the blue balls. Rowan and Holden were the lights of Mik’s life.
Ro backed away from him and had a sly smile on his face. “How about you jump in the shower and meet us downstairs when you’re done.”
“What are you up to, love?” He reached out, but Rowan sidestepped him.
“Shower, then meet us downstairs.” Rowan’s eyes were bright. “Trust me, you’ll want to be quick.”
Mik rushed through his shower, trying to imagine what had his mate looking all smug. When he walked into the living room, there was a Christmas tree with lights shining brightly, and Ro stood in front of it. His mate looked up at Mik and grinned. Holden sat in a carrier at Rowan’s feet, his young eyes focused on the lights.
Rowan’s face looked like he was lit up from the inside… he was quite literally glowing…and no one could tell him different.
Mik moved closer to his mate until they were basically recycling each other’s carbon dioxide and oxygen.
“You did all this?” Mik’s arms went around Ro’s waist.
His mate nodded. “I feel bad. I was a brat and ran away and ruined Christmas for you… and it could have been our first Christmas.” Rowan looked away, and when he looked back, there was a shy smile on his face. “So, this is like a reboot.”
Mik’s heart was beating faster in his chest, even as his wolf howled his joy. Mik didn’t care that he had missed Christmas, but he fell even more for Rowan if that was at all possible.
“You know you didn’t have to.” Mik cupped his mate’s chin. “You and Holden are Christmas and every birthday rolled into one.”
“I know.” Rowan’s smile was shy, his cheeks pink.
“But I love that you did all this.” Mik lowered his head and first placed a kiss on Ro’s forehead, moved down to the tip of his mate’s nose, and then pressed his lips to Rowan’s, deepening the kiss as he squeezed his mate tighter to his body.
When he pulled back, it was to find a slightly dazed mate looking at him.
Rowan pulled back from him. “I should uhh… hot chocolate?”
“Are you running away, love?” Mik couldn’t help teasing.
“You’re mean.” Rowan’s licked his lips.
Fuck, Mik could smell his mate’s arousal, and now that they were mated officially, his slick, and bloody hell... The fact that he couldn’t sink his cock into his mate right now was more of a challenge than it had been the past two weeks.
Even though their mating had sped up some of Rowan’s healing capabilities, it was nowhere near his. So they had to wait the prescribed length of time for Rowan’s incision to heal. Not that they hadn’t got creative.
“Hot chocolate,” Mikhail repeated, even as he took a step towards Rowan.
Thankfully, right at that moment, Holden let out a mewl, drawing their attention.
Mik knelt down in front of his son and lifted him out of his rocker.
“Merry Christmas, baby boy.” He kissed Holden on the top of his head and breathed in that baby scent.
Mik’s wolf knew that Rowan was back before he’d made a sound, Mik turned and found his mate putting two mugs of cocoa down on the coffee table.
Ro got his phone out of his sweatpants pocket, lifted it, and started recording while humming softly the melody of All I want for Christmas.
“I think this is by far going to be my best Christmas ever.” Mik’s eyes were shining, his lips curved, “Best year ever.”
“Me too.” Rowan looked in his mate’s eyes and he couldn’t stop smiling. He was worried his face would be stuck in a permanent grin.
Rowan walked over to them, and Mik moved Holden into one arm, the other going around his mate.
Mik agreed with Rowan. This was by far the best Christmas he’d ever experienced. And it wasn’t even Christmas.
“The family will be here in an hour,” Rowan’s voice was soft.
Mik leaned back so he could look Rowan in the eye. “Wait, everyone is coming?”
Rowan nodded, but bit his lips. “You don’t mind, do you?”
“How could I mind when my amazing mate did the most thoughtful thing for me.” Mik placed a soft kiss on Rowan’s lips, then pulled back with their foreheads touching. “I love you, so much.”
“I’m excited for you to see your gifts.” Rowan hoped that Mik loved what he’d got for him. Ro also loved the excitement written all over Mik’s face. He really hoped he hadn’t messed up with the gift.
“Let’s open up Holden’s first,” Mik said.
Who was he to argue with that? Rowan had wrapped a few gifts for their little one because he wanted to get the whole moment, even though their son was still so young, but it wouldn’t have been Christmassy if they hadn’t got Holden some gifts too.
He knew their little guy would not remember, but still, he would… they both would.
Mik put Holden back in his rocker and sat cross-legged by the tree and began pulling gifts out, separating them by the names on the cards. Mik looked up at Rowan and smiled every time he picked up a gift with his name on it.
And Rowan had to smile along with him because this was what he’d hoped for. He knew how lucky he was to have Mikhail in his life. How lucky he was that his mate had taken everything he’d thrown at him, even running away like a child instead of communicating like a grown man.
Rowan wanted Mik to realise just how much he meant to him.
He watched as Mikhail opened up the presents and tried to show them to Holden. Their son had the most unimpressed face in all of history, and Rowan couldn’t help laughing. Holden was a meme waiting to happen.
But even with their baby learning resting bitch face early, and Mik having to get off the floor and sit on the couch, since his body started protesting, Mik’s enjoyment, the sound of his laughter and the permanent grin on his face as he unwrapped each gift, made Rowan feel like a kid that had received a gold star from that teacher who never gave them out. Not that Mik was that teacher.
Mik grabbed the last item, and Rowan couldn’t help biting his lip as he watched.
“It’s big,” Mik sounded… well, like a kid at Christmas.
“That’s what he said.” Rowan couldn’t help the crude joke, he was nervous. He really hoped Mikhail like this gift.
"I think you mean that's what you said," Mik shot him a teasing glance as he tore into the wrapping paper, he then lowered his present and lay it flat on the floor, then removed the smaller items so all three gifts lay side by side.
He was quiet for a moment, and Rowan’s breathing stalled in his chest as he watched his mate stare at the items that’d been laid out.
“When did you do this?” Mik’s voice was gruff, and his eyes were shining when he looked up at Ro.
Ro lowered himself to the floor and crawled, so he was beside Mikhail on his knees. “I can be pretty sneaky.”
Mikhail’s lips curved, and Rowan was pulled into his mate’s arms so fast he almost dropped his phone.
“Are you now?” Mik lifted his hand, his eyes dancing. “Maybe I should tickle it out of you.”
Rowan wiggled trying to get up, but his mate had him. “You wouldn’t.”
Mikhail traced his side until he got to the point where Rowan’s shirt met his sweats. The moment Mik’s hand touched his skin, his body reacted, goose pimples raised on his skin, and his cock stirred.
That was what this man, who had not only his heart, but every other part of him, did to him.
The fact that was the truth should have scared Mik, but it really didn’t. Not anymore.
Ro wasn’t sure who moved first, him or Mik, but the next thing that happened was they were kissing. Mik’s mouth on his was soft and sweet, and Rowan poured everything in his heart, all the gratitude, and love at that moment into the kiss.
When they pulled apart, their breathing was heavy, and he could feel how much his mate wanted him.
Bloody Hell! This whole no sex thing was not fun. At all!
He leaned into Mikhail’s chest just enjoying being in his mate’s arms.
“Alfie showed me a site that I could upload pictures from my phone. The one of the three of us is for your office… if you want, that is.”
“I love it, and of course I want it in my office. Truth is, I would take both of you to work with me if I could.”
Rowan chuckled. Mik was home every chance he could get, and came home early on the rare days he did go in. Apparently Malek, Malachi, and Mikhail’s home offices were getting more use than their actual offices right across the lake.
Outsiders were not allowed in Whitfell, so whenever they had a guest over to the house, Rowan knew they were a shifter.
“The big one of you and Holden, I thought would be a nice gift to decorate his room.” It was one of Holden and Mik the day after their son was born. Mikhail was shirtless and holding their son in his rocking chair, and the look in his eyes took Rowan’s breath away.
Rowan had walked in, and when Mik looked up, there was a primal look in Mikhail’s eyes that told Rowan his wolf was close to the surface. In that look, Rowan knew that Mik would always keep their family safe. The love in Mik’s eyes had Rowan’s heart beating so fast, he felt like it would come out of his chest, even as peace and contentment washed over him.
He hoped that Holden saw the same thing he did when he looked at the photo.
“I love it. Both of them.” Mik chuckled. “Although I have a feeling when he’s older, he’s not going to want a giant picture of his dad in his room.”
Ro snorted and rolled his eyes. “Trust me, he may not always want it hanging up there, but he’ll always want it.”
There was a picture on Rowan’s phone of his dad holding him over his head like an aeroplane. Rowan’s mum said he was two in the picture. He had the original in an album that had followed him here to Whitfell.
Moments mattered, especially when the person was no longer with you.
“We’ll have to get a family portrait done, but before that, I think Holden needs a picture of his amazing papa in his room too.” Mik said.
Ro knew his cheeks would probably hurt from smiling, but he didn’t care. “I think we can do that. We should invite my brothers and yours for the family shoot. I hope there are shifter photographers.”
Mikhail’s chest vibrated before he heard him laughing. “There are, love, there are. We do everything you guys do. Only difference is, we change into animals on occasion.”
“You’re so funny.” He rolled his eyes at his mate, but then Mik lifted Rowan, and he let out a squeal as he was positioned to straddle his mate.
“You know we can’t get up to anything,” Rowan teased.
Mik let out a groan. “Don’t remind me.” His mate’s tragic tone made him chuckle, not that he didn’t feel his pain.
“But that’s not it. It’s my turn,” Mik said.
“Your turn?” Rowan’s eyes widened. “Did you know what I was planning? I thought I’d surprised you.”
Rowan didn’t realise he was pouting until Mikhail playfully nipped his lips.
“I wasn’t sure how I was going to do this, but I guess the goddess had everything planned for me.” Mikhail’s voice was serious.
“Is everything okay?”
“Everything is perfect,” Mikhail reassured him quickly. He guessed he wasn’t so good hiding his worry.
“My parents made us realise how truly special it was because, even though in the eyes of every shifter they were mated, they had to hide what they were to each other for the longest time.” Mik held his gaze as he spoke. “I never want to hide what or who you are to me Rowan Baines.” Mikhail’s arm went around his mate’s waist, keeping the man in place, and then he leaned to the side a little, reached his free hand into his pocket, and brought out a small red box that had Rowan’s breath stalling.
“I love you with everything that I am, and I want it written in the human books for eternity that you are mine.”
Tears rolled down his cheek with every word that Mikhail spoke.
Mik lifted him and gently placed him on the floor, and the next thing Rowan knew, his mate was down on one knee.
“Rowan Baines, would you do me the greatest of honours by becoming my husband, the love of life, my everything?”
Rowan didn’t know he had it in him, but he tackled Mik to the ground and kissed him until they both had to pause for breath.
“I’ll take that as a yes?” His mate’s smile was almost blinding, but then again, Mik imagined so was his, even though his eyes leaked with more tears.
Rowan nodded, his throat too choked to speak.
Mikhail pulled the band out, and it took Rowan’s breath away as the diamond-studded band was slipped on his finger.
“A million times, yes,” Rowan managed to whisper.
Mik sat up but didn’t let go of him, and Rowan’s eyes traced his mate’s face. He cupped Mikhail’s cheek and lowered his head for a soft kiss, pouring all his joy into it.
Rowan pulled away and put his hand over Mik’s heart.
“I know it may have taken me a little longer to get here, but thank you for never giving up on me. I couldn’t have dreamed you up if I tried, and I think it scared me because, from the moment we met, I was drawn to you. I love you.” Mik’s breath stalled at Rowan’s words. “You and Holden are my life. And there’s no one I would rather spend eternity with.”
There were tears in Mik’s eyes and his arms around Rowan tightened.
“I love you,” Rowan whispered against Mik’s lips.
“I love you too,” Mikhail said before sealing their lips together.